Franklin B. Saksena, MD. 427 pages. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.; 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Paperback: US $160; ISBN: 978-1-118-46979-8. Available from www.wiley.com. Also available as an e-book.
Field of Medicine: Cardiology.
Format: Paperback book. Trim size: 8¼ × 11½ in.
Recommended Readership: Cardiologists in training and cardiologists interested in problem-solving.
Purpose: To reiterate the importance of the patient's history and physical findings in detecting valvular, congenital, or vascular disease and to correlate those clinical findings with invasive and noninvasive studies.
Content: There are 418 pages of text, containing 65 patient studies. Each patient study follows a template that consists of the following sections presented in varying order: history, physical examination, phonocardiography (when possible), electrocardiography, chest film, echocardiography, hemodynamic findings, and sometimes angiography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Readers interpret each section and answer any questions posed. Then they compare their results with the author's comments, which typically include a discussion of the case, a listing of key points, and a number of pertinent references. These patient studies are arranged in approximate chronological order from 1966 through 2013, with emphasis on establishing a diagnosis given the tools available at the time.
The book also has a 2-page table of contents, a page about the author, a preface, an acknowledgment, 2 pages of defined abbreviations, 4 pages that show readers how the author envisions working through each patient's case, and a 1-page list of an additional 24 online patient studies—to be found at a companion website. At the back of the book are a crossword puzzle dealing with pediatric cardiology and other medical issues, a subject index, a patient studies index, a disease classification index, and answers to the crossword puzzle.
Strengths: This book will challenge the problem-solver, improve the reader's knowledge of cardiology, and help prepare the trainee for the cardiology board examination. Its specific strong points include an attractive cover, paper of high-grade stock, excellent colored illustrations, well-constructed diagrams and tables, an assortment of worthwhile images, and a wealth of detailed and practical information on a wide variety of valvular, congenital, and rare forms of cardiovascular disease. Especially useful are the discussion, key points, and references that conclude most of the patient studies.
Weaknesses: Some of the plain chest films are suboptimal in quality and do not show the details that the author describes. The frequent use of nonstandard abbreviations is confusing and disruptive at times, forcing the reader to seek clarity from the list of abbreviations in the front of the book. Even there, 2 different definitions are given for some terms (PA, T, and TA). In addition, 5 of the patient studies lack a discussion, references, key points, or some combination thereof. And tighter editing could have prevented a scattering of misspellings, typographical errors, and insufficient punctuation.